Is it time for your car’s MOT? With our simple advice for putting your car in condition, you can improve your chances of passing the test the first time.
If your automobile is more than three years old, it is legally required to have an annual MOT check to guarantee it is roadworthy. The single exception to this regulation was during the coronavirus pandemic, when vehicles due for a MOT between 30 March and 31 July 2020 were given a six-month extension in the United Kingdom, and a 12-month extension in Northern Ireland.
The maximum amount a garage can charge for a MOT is £54.85, but they’re usually offered for around £35-£45 to attract and keep customers. An MOT may appear to be an unnecessary investment, but it might disclose significant flaws that could jeopardise your vehicle’s safety in the future. In addition, failing to have a valid MOT renders your vehicle illegal to drive (unless you’re on your way to a pre-scheduled test) and usually invalidates your insurance. Approximately 40% of cars that are submitted for MOT testing fail.
To make sure your car isn’t one of them, keep reading to learn how to improve your chances of passing the test the first time. We disclose the short inspections you can perform to ensure you aren’t caught off guard by a tiny issue, as well as the new MOT guidelines.
Changes to MOT testing in England, Scotland, and Wales took effect on May 20, 2018, introducing a new system for categorising issues discovered in your vehicle. There are some new inspections in the new MOT test, as well as stiffer limits for diesel automobile emissions. Any problems discovered by the MOT tester are now classified as ‘dangerous,”major,’ or’minor.’
Your automobile will fail its MOT if it is discovered to have a ‘dangerous’ or’major’ issue. If your car has a harmful flaw, you’ll have to correct it before continuing to drive it. Diesel cars with diesel particulate filters (DPFs) now have to comply with tighter emissions regulations. To lower emissions from diesel cars, DPFs catch and store exhaust soot.
If the MOT tester sees any smoke coming from the exhaust or finds evidence of tampering with the DPF, your car will receive a serious fault (and fail its MOT). Additional inspections for the tester to complete during the new MOT have been included, such as checking for underinflated tyres, working brake pad warning lights, and missing brake pads or discs. The MOT certificate will be updated to reflect the new fault system as well. Furthermore, if a vehicle is over 40 years old and hasn’t been significantly altered, it may no longer require a MOT.
Before you get your MOT, take a look at the outside of your automobile.
Wheels and tyres
The appropriate type and size of car tyres are required. Replace a space-saving spare tyre on one of your wheels with a conventional wheel and tyre before the test if you have one. Check that all tyres have a tread depth of at least 1.6mm all the way around the pattern and across the central three-quarters. Inserting a 20p coin into one of the tread grooves is a quick technique to check.
The tread depth is sufficient if the coin’s outside edge is totally concealed. Look for any large lumps or cuts in the sidewall that would make it inappropriate for use. Tyres must also not be visibly underinflated. Spare tyres aren’t tested as part of the MOT, although those kept outside should be securely fastened. Follow our instructions for replacing car tyres to ensure a secure and safe installation.
For your automobile to pass the MOT test, all of its lights (including headlamps, parking lights, reverse lights, indicators, and registration plate bulbs) must be the correct colour and in good functioning order. Daytime running lights will be assessed on vehicles that were first registered in March 2018 and will have their first MOT in 2021. Cleaning your lights and having someone else test them while you walk around the car is a good idea. If they flicker when softly tapped with your hand, they need to be tightened into place or replaced entirely. If you see a blown bulb, it’s a good idea to replace it before the MOT. Find out which bulbs are best for your automobile by reading our guide to car headlights.
Windscreen and wipers
The wipers and washers should be effective enough to allow you to see the road clearly. Wipers that smear could be worn out, so replace them before the MOT, and if you have them, inspect your headlamp washers. If necessary, use a pin to clear the jets and top up the washer bottle (some garages may charge for this). Before the MOT test, make sure your windscreen is in good working order, especially the area cleaned by the wipers. Remove any stickers that can hinder your vision, and keep an eye out for chips or cracks that are longer than 1cm (about the size of a 5p coin).
Plates de registration
Ensure that your registration plates are in good working order and that they are securely affixed to your vehicle. All of the letters and numerals should be legible from a distance of 20 metres. Keep in mind that the employment of unique typefaces may be interpreted by the police as an attempt to evade the law. Before heading for your MOT test, check the DVLA website to see if your number plate fits the legal criteria.
For your car to pass its MOT test, all doors must open and close freely. They should be firmly closed once closed. Both the interior and outside of the car should be able to open the front doors.
Structure of the vehicle
Take a look around your car and assess its overall condition. Excessive corrosion or damage to the body should be avoided, especially anything that could impact brakes or steering. There should be no exposed sharp edges that could endanger other road users. If there are any, your vehicle may fail its MOT.
Under the hood
Check the brake fluid reservoir and the oil level by opening the hood. For the garage to execute an emissions test, it must have sufficient amounts of both oil and fuel. If your automobile is not properly topped up or if the brake fluid is contaminated, you may be turned away. The examination now includes a check for fluid leaks that could endanger the environment.
Check the following items before your MOT: automobile interior Warning lights
MOT inspectors examine dashboard warning lights to see if they are illuminated or not. The power-steering indicator and brake-fluid warning lamps are among them, so make sure they all turn on and off when you turn the key. To pass the MOT, your car must also have a fully functional speedometer.
Examine the front seats before the MOT to ensure they’re properly fastened and don’t shift around when they’re not intended to. Seatbacks in the front and back should be able to lock into an upright position.
Seatbelts that are frayed or torn are a no-no. Check that they work properly and are firmly attached to the seats or the car’s chassis, and that they click into place securely and release correctly before heading to the test centre.
To make sure your horn is operating, give it a quick toot. The horn should be heard and reachable from the driver’s seat.
Look in the mirrors. To pass the MOT, a car must have an interior rear-view mirror and at least one driver’s side mirror. They should be placed such that they can be seen easily from the driver’s seat. Before you buy a car, find out how prone it is to problems. Enter the model number into our most dependable automobiles checker to see which parts are most likely to fail.
Mechanical inspections are the most difficult to perform yourself, but there are issues that can be identified early on, allowing you to shop about for the cheapest repair prices before the MOT test.
Suspension is a difficult component to inspect on your own, but you may do a short test by putting your weight on each corner of the car and then letting go. Any body motions should calm down fast if the suspension is good. When you drive or manage the car, particularly over an impediment such as a speed bump, or as you drive up a kerb or onto a driveway, you may hear suspension problems in the form of creaks or knocks.
system of exhaust
Ensure that no pieces of the exhaust or mountings are missing, and that nothing is hanging loose. Keep an eye out for any large leaks and make sure the silencer is in working order. Start the car and listen for excessive or unusual noise, which could be an indication of a ‘blowing’ exhaust, to ensure everything is in working condition before the MOT test (small holes caused by corrosion). Mechanical inspections are the most difficult to perform on your own, although there are issues that can be detected early on.
Emissions of exhaust gases
To pass the MOT test, your car must meet the required limits for exhaust emissions. These are dependent on the age of your vehicle and the fuel you use. You can’t verify this yourself, but if there’s a lot of smoke coming out of the tailpipe of any colour, there’s a problem. You’ll also fail if your diesel vehicle has a tampered-with diesel particulate filter (DPF). Many cars produce more dangerous NOx than the permitted limit, according to our research. Visit our car emissions guide to find the worst offenders.
system of fuel
Check for leaks and make sure the fuel tank and other visible components, such as hoses and pipes, are secure. The gasoline cap should be securely fastened and unbroken; a split seal could cause your automobile to fail its MOT. MOT testers must be able to access the fuel cap, so if you have one, make sure you give the key.
Make that the footbrake and handbrake are both working properly. The brake pipes should not have any obvious leaks. During the test, no wheels are removed, and the tester just looks at what is visible and easily accessible. You can also look for evidence of warping or scoring on the brake discs. If your vehicle has anti-lock brakes, make sure the warning light is operational.
Is a MOT required for my vehicle?
What happens if my vehicle fails its MOT?
If your car has failed and requires repairs, you are usually entitled to one free MOT retest as long as it does not leave the MOT test centre. In that scenario, you must request the repair from the MOT garage. If your automobile is deemed to have a ‘dangerous’ issue, you must have it repaired at the garage where you got your MOT. You can’t drive the car anywhere until it’s fixed, not even to another shop, unless you tow it there. If your existing MOT test certificate is still valid, you can drive to a different garage for a’major’ issue. You are authorised to take your car to another shop for repairs on a few specific failure points, such as emissions or headlight aim. If you return to the original test centre before the end of the next working day, you will be entitled to a free partial MOT test. If you do not return on time, you will be charged the whole cost.
What should I do if I believe my MOT test result is incorrect?
You have the option of taking your car to a different MOT test centre for a second MOT if you don’t trust the garage you’ve picked. However, you will be required to pay the whole price. You can also file an appeal against the test result. To do so, fill out form VT17, which can be obtained from any MOT test centre, and contact the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA, formerly known as VOSA) within 14 working days of passing the test. Within five days, the DVSA will inspect your vehicle. You’ll have to pay for another MOT test, but if your appeal is successful, you’ll get your money back. If you believe your automobile passed the MOT test but should have failed, contact the DVSA as soon as possible. If you contact it within a particular time frame, it will perform a free check for you (three months for corrosion, 28 days for other problems).
What are the different types of MOT faults?
Any problems discovered by the MOT tester during the inspection are now classified as ‘dangerous,”major,’ or’minor,’ depending on the severity of the issue. Your vehicle will fail its MOT if it has any harmful or serious flaws. You must not drive the car until it has been rectified for serious issues, and major faults must be repaired quickly. The MOT examiner can also provide ‘advisory’ comments for issues with your vehicle that could become more problematic in the future.
Are MOTs required for electric and hybrid vehicles?
When it comes to MOTs, electric and hybrid vehicles follow the same criteria as gasoline and diesel vehicles. As soon as your automobile turns three years old, you’ll need to obtain one every year. Because the technique will be the same, all of the preceding recommendations and tests will be applicable. Electric vehicles are the lone exception. The garage won’t bother with an emissions test because they have no emissions.